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All the must-have tools for remote work

Is the concept of remote work actually new?

For decades now, folks have been working from homes, cafes, different offices, coworking spaces, satellites, polar research ships — the list goes on. And in 2020, we are even less tied to a specific building while still having a connection with the rest of the team.

Imagine, the number of those working remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. We are basically a remote-native generation

However, the few remote newbies shouldn’t worry. Even amidst the recent COVID-19 outbreak and the growing popularity of the virtual office phenomenon, you don’t have to literally dive into virtual reality and learn to work again. The only secret is a few weeks to adjust and the right set of tools across video conferencing, messaging and file-sharing to ease the transition.

As we’ve been building remote teams for many years and are using specialized software on a daily basis, we’ve decided to put together the most relevant programs in one place to help you stay professionally close to all the stakeholders while staying socially distanced.

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All you need to know about each tool and the key pros & cons at your fingertips

Communication tools

The number one issue plaguing remote work is poor communication. The fast feedback loop, scheduling in-person meetings, the possibility to interpret body language, and other activities like a coffee conversation make in-the-moment communication much more convenient. Still, asynchronous interaction is not a complete troublemaker.

It is indeed hard to escape inconsistent working practices and miscommunication when implementing remote work quickly and without a clear plan, but the following selection of communication platforms will help you send thoughts through time, space and any possible obstacles.

Slack


slack

Hasta la vista, silos of email! Slack introduces a more organized, channel-based experience for every person on every team — no matter the location and level of technical proficiency.

Being among the best communication tools, Slack allows for either direct messaging or creating shared groups, navigating and searching across your organization, customized notifications, pinned items, as well as secure access, rich integration capacity, and more.

Zoom


zoom

Zoom has long been the de facto workplace communication tool for startups and large enterprises alike. With a crazily successful IPO and a nearly 30% stock price jump, Zoom only strengthened its market position.

The platform enables anyone to hold unlimited 40-minute meetings for up to 100 participants, with bigger and longer calls available with a subscription. You’ll be also given the opportunity to create one-click recurring meetings, co-host video conferences, record calls as a video, and get the attendee list, to name a few.

Yac


Yac

Designed specifically for remote teams, YAC acts as a so-called time machine, allowing users to take back the time wasted on endless scheduling from traditional Slack-y and Zoom-y services.

Yac makes asynchronous communication, a long-standing bottleneck of all remote teams, an actual advantage. The tool offers asynchronous meetings, screen sharing and voice messaging so distributed team members can prioritize implementing ideas over discussing them, work across time zones in a more convenient way, and don’t needlessly bother each other.

It also boasts unlimited team size, as well as keeping messaging history, searchable audio transcription, and extra privacy features.

Google Hangouts Meet


Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts Meet (formerly Google Hangouts) is a collaboration and communication tool bundled as a part of G Suite — Google’s business productivity package. It offers online chatting and video conferencing natively from the computer browsers, meaning there’s no need for software installation. Other great features include chat search, integration with other G Suite apps (docs, sheets, slides and drive files), chat notifications, adding a range of bots to the chat, etc.

Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams

Microsoft's entry in the crowded group messaging market was loud. The technology giant mixed instant messaging, video conferencing, calling, and document collaboration — and got Microsoft Teams. Positioning the tool as a “digital translation of an open office space,” creators empowered it with cloud recording and transcriptions of audio, in-line messages translation, and Cortana integration.

WhatsApp Business


WhatsApp Business

According to Techсrunch, more than 3 million businesses have gone after the backed-by-Facebook WhatsApp Business. Its key features are direct messaging, automation (greeting and away messages, quick replies), broadcasts, automation, and using the app as a CRM.

Now is the time to choose

Slack
Zoom
Yac
Whatsapp
Microsoft Teams
G.Hangouts
01Free plan
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
02Chat message history
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
03Audio calls
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
04Video conferencing
and webinars
Yes
Yes
No
Up to 4 participants
Yes
Yes
05App integration
Google suite
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Trello
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
Hubspot
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
Dropbox
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No


Project management

Having an innate knack for project management, along with time-management and organizational skills, is only half the battle. Any PM needs a reliable tool to assist the team in planning, strategizing and implementing the important tasks.

Here are a few honored veterans that help teams fight wrong priorities and missed deadlines.

Trello


Trello

If you want to become a project management master, then use Trello. This is a kanban-based tool that is perfect for any kind of project or team — be it HR, content, marketing and sales projects, customer support or software development.

Apart from the easy-to-use, intuitive task boards, Trello boasts integrations with multiple power-ups (Github, Salesforce, Slack, etc.), numerous security features, custom branding, ability to export team data with one click, notifications from any device — and counting!

Airtable


Airtable

Airtable takes the concept of creating spreadsheets and databases but makes it a hundred times better. With the help of this service, you’ll be able to store, group and retrieve pretty much all kinds of data.

Such Airtable users as Medium, Shopify and BuzzFeed appreciated its system of workspaces, data-input customizations (checkboxes, URL, date, ratings, currencies), availability of the revision history, and blocks with additional functionalities (maps, video chat, text translation, calendar, etc. ), as well as an integration-friendly environment.

Monday.com


Monday.com

Monday.com identifies itself as the Work OS where teams connect to run projects and workflows. The tool allows remote teams to get a 360° view of the current workflow, add code-free automations to the fully customizable boards, and use a plethora of building blocks such as guests permissions, time tracking, file sharing, updates, etc.

A nice bonus is that you can join the Monday apps beta program and develop your own app based on top of the platform.

JIRA


JIRA

Jira, meaning “Godzilla” in Japanese, truly lives up to its name. This iconic tool encompasses the entire project coordination skills: software development, scrum project management, issue tracking, content management, marketing, and many more.

Which side do you take?

Trello
Airtable
Monday
Jira
01Free plan
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
02Calendar view
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
03Time tracking
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
04Desktop app
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
053rd party integration
Google suite
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Slack
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Hubspot
No
No
Yes
No
Dropbox
Yes
Yes
No
Yes

Remote control software

When establishing the work-from-home systems, your business should consider the high possibility of something going wrong. If visiting the office isn't an option, then you need a system that provides remote control, support and access to remote files.

Here are our top picks.

TeamViewer


TeamViewer

TeamViewer maintains a lifeline to the office with its incredible features such as remote device control, cross-platform access, VPN, Secure Unattended Access, remote printing, and so much more.

You will also like the vast number of utilities across online meetings, team collaboration and security.

Apple remote desktop


Apple remote desktop

Looking for a safe way to remotely access and control your Mac from anything, anywhere? Apple remote desktop is your best option.

Apart from the classic functionality of remote administration, screen sharing and file transfer, the app empowers users to provide real-time online help, build in-depth reports, use Automator actions and Remote Spotlight search, etc.

Mikogo


Mikogo

Remote teams leverage Mikogo for holding online presentations and product demonstrations, online trainings and webinars, remote IT support, meetings and much more — all within web or mobile browsers.

The hallmark of Mikogo is that it offers such desktop-sharing rights as control over participants’ computers, a special whiteboard for making notes, and selective sharing of the content.

Splashtop


Splashtop

Splashtop is your go-to solution if you’re looking for easy remote access, file transfer, remote printing plus the ability to view multiple monitors simultaneously, chat, and perform remote wake and reboot. Cloud and on-premise options along with the SSO Integration are also available.

Chrome remote desktop


Chrome remote desktop

Chrome remote desktop makes it possible to remotely access another computer through Chrome browser or a Chromebook. It’s a basic yet solid way to provide remote assistance, establish secure connections with randomized pins, and enjoy support for multiple monitors.

Only you decide what to choose



Teamviewer
Apple remote desktop
Mikigo
Splashtop
Chrome remote desktop
01Free plan
14 days
No
14 days
7 days
Free
02Cloud based or desktop
Both
Desktop
Both
Both
Desktop
03File transfer
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
04Seamless window
No
No
No
Yes
No
05Compatible devices
Mac, iOs
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Windows
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Android
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
06Audio support
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes

Final say

Whether you’re in forced or voluntary isolation or just switching to remote across the company, supporting your team’s workplace routine with the right tools can soothe feelings of alienation while maintaining the pre-remote productivity level.

Each reviewed platform brings a host of valuable benefits, so don’t forget to weigh carefully your team’s differences to select a truly inclusive means of cooperation.

And most importantly, don’t forget that social distancing doesn’t necessarily mean staring at a blank wall the whole day. It’s a valuable opportunity to reflect on your product state and present market competitiveness, thus working out a strategy to adjust in this more-than-ever-changing world.

Stay tuned — and stay safe!

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